Erickson Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Erickson Meaning
tends to be the
American spelling of the Swedish Eriksson or the Norwegian and Danish
Eriksen patronymic
names that are common in Scandinavia. The
root in
each case was the name Erik, derived from an ancient Norse word meaning
king and
probably also from the same Germanic root as reich
meaning “to rule.”
Scandinavian surnames
rarely became hereditary in the manner of German or British surnames
until the
18th century. In fact Erickson and its variants
have only really been in use as last names since around 1850.
In one family Andersson became Eriksson as
late as 1870.

Erickson Resources on

Erickson Ancestry

the son of Erik the Red, was a Norse explorer who was the first
European, according
to the Sagas, to discover
America. Around the year 1000 he
established a Norse settlement at Vinland, believed to be a spot on the
northern tip of Newfoundland.

emerged as the Norwegian and Danish patronymic surname.
Orm Eriksen was a Norwegian nobleman in Stavanger who led
a tax revolt which led to his execution in 1521. A notable later
bearer of the name was Erik Eriksen,
the Prime Minister of Denmark from 1950 to 1953. Today
there are an estimated 27,000 Eriksens
in Norway and a further 18,000 in Denmark.

Eriksson has been the Swedish spelling. Charlotta
Eriksson was one of the most
popular actresses in Sweden in the first half of the 19th
century. Axel W. Eriksson was a Swedish
hunter and trader in SW Africa later in the 19th century. And
Sven Goran Eriksson has been a Swedish football
manager of recent times. Today Erikssons
in Sweden number a sizeable 170,000.

started arriving in the US and Canada in the second half of the 19th

heritage in the far north of Scotland did leave some Erickson name
traces. Thus Laurence Erickson was
recorded at Breck
in the Shetland Isles in the year 1613. And
Erickson still appeared among the Shetland names in 1804.

Other Ericksons in Scotland and England were few
in number and of more recent arrival.
John Erickson,
who was born in Newcastle in 1929 and became a foremost expert on
Soviet military history, had Swedish forebears.

America. The
Erickson properly in America was probably John Ericksson who came to
the New Sweden
colony in Salem, New Jersey sometime in the 1660’s. He and his
wife Magdalena were parents to four daughters.

later John Ericsson, also from Sweden, was one
of the most famous inventors of the 19th century. Born
in 1803, he moved to the United
States and developed there the first steam turbine engine in
1839. In 1862 he built the famous ironclad warship known as the Monitor. He is also credited with developing the
first destroyer in

the mid-1800’s onwards Scandinavians began emigrating to the
Midwest, particularly to Minnesota.

Minnesota. Scandia
was the home of the first Swedish settlers in Minnesota in 1850. Johannes Erikson arrived there several years
later. The Johannes Erickson House,
built by Johannes and his thirteen year old son Albert in 1868, is now
on the National Register of Historic Places.
The house was constructed with a gambel roof, a distinctive
feature from
southern Sweden.

Otto Erickson came to
Minnesota in 1868 where he became a potato farmer.
His son Edward built in 1915 another Erickson
building that is on the National Register – the Erickson farmstead near Isanti.
The next generation of these Ericksons
started Minnesota’s first gasoline refinery, the Northwestern Refinery
in 1939. The family ran gas stations and
convenience stores in Minnesota and elsewhere until their sale in 2017.

and Fredrika
Erickson with
four of their children departed Sweden for Minnesota in 1888. They settled at a farm near Dawson which they
as the era of free land was by that time over. In
1900 they moved north to land near Lowry where they were able to buy a
140 acre
farm. Farming generally prospered until
the 1930’s
when Johan’s son Axel was forced to sell the farm after the bank had
foreclosed and
move into town at Lowry

John E. Erickson was born
in Stoughton, Wisconsin in 1863, the son of Norwegian immigrants Erik
and Olene
Erickson. He studied law in Kansas,
moved to Montana in 1893 and was elected as Governor of that state in

Sievert and Anna Erickson arrived in Chicago from Norway in 1863. One of their sons Nicholas settled in Montana. Another
son Albert worked in
the 1890’s in the silver mining town of Aurum, Nevada where he and his
family lived in a dirt-floor cabin. In
1904 they moved by covered
wagon to a small farm near Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. From
these humble conditions came Milton H.
– color blind, tone deaf and dyslexic – who is
considered by
today to have been the father of modern hypnotherapy.

John Erickson meanwhile arrived in 1871 and made his home in Emporia,
Kansas. He later owned and operated the Triangle Ranch in the
Kansas Flint Hills. Ole Erickson from Norway was an early settler
in Lyon county, Iowa in the 1870’s. His sons, T.O. and M.O.
Erickson, operated a large livery and sales barn in the county in the
early 1900’s.

New Sweden along the Rolling River area of
Manitoba was established in 1885 to attract Scandinavian
immigrants. Erickson was incorporated as a town there
in 1897. It was named after Albert Erickson, its first postmaster.

Oscar Erickson, born in British Columbia in 1898, fought in World War
One and survived, although losing both legs in the process. His
silver ID bracelet, lost on the battlefields, recently turned up in a
box of junk in Vancouver and was returned to the Erickson family.
Oscar was the father of the architect Arthur Erickson who designed the
Canadian embassy in Washington DC.


Erickson Miscellany

Leif Erikson and Vinland.  The earliest and most complete information about Vinland can be found in
two sagas, Greenlanders’ Saga and The Saga of
Erik the Red
.  The two accounts were
written independently, though
both told of things that took place in the early 11th century and were
passed down
by word of mouth in Greenland and Iceland until they were written down
in the 13th

In Greenlanders’ Saga Leif Erikson built
several houses and called his
camp Leifsbudir.  He was said to have named
the place Vinland because of the grapes he found growing there.There are two pieces of historical information
about Vinland.  Report of a land beyond
where wild grapes and wheat grew was recorded by Adam of Bremen in
1075, based on
information received from the King of Denmark.

about Vinland also appeared in The
of the Icelanders
, the first written history of Iceland compiled
in the 1120’s.

From Andersson to Eriksson.  Erik Magnus
Andersson was born in Sweden in 1849 and married Johanna Stina
Svenslotter in
1869.  They raised seven children – four
boys and three girls – all with the surname of Eriksson.
John Emil Eriksson was the son who emigrated
to America.  He settled in New Britain,

The Erickson Farmstead near Isanti, Minnesota.  The Erickson farmstead is located in Athens township, three miles south of the city of
Isanti, Minnesota.  It was first
developed by Otto Erickson who immigrated from Sweden in 1868 and
became one of
the first settlers in the area.

Following a common pattern of land transfer from
one generation to the next, his son Edward began farming the family
about the time of his marriage in 1893.  Edward replaced the
original farm buildings
with the present ones after his farming operations had prospered and
in the early 1900’s.

The farmstead, distinctive in the county for its impressive
scale and extremely well-preserved condition, represents the upper
limits of
the prosperity achieved by successful area farmers during the county’s
successful years of potato production.

The two story frame farmhouse was constructed in 1915.  The farm
is now
listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Milton Erickson and His Auto-Hypnotic Experience.  In
1918, at the age of seventeen, Milton Erickson contracted polio and was so
severely paralyzed that the doctors believed he would die.  In the critical night when he was at his
worst, he had a formative “auto-hypnotic experience.”

“As I lay in bed that night, I overheard the
three doctors tell my parents in the other room that their boy would be
dead in
the morning.  I felt intense anger that
anyone should tell a mother her boy would be dead by morning.  My mother then came in with as serene a face
as can be.

asked her to arrange the dresser, push it up against the side of
the bed at an angle.  She did not understand why, she thought I
was delirious.
My speech was difficult.  But at that angle by virtue of the
mirror on the
dresser I could see through the doorway, through the west window of the
room.  I was damned if I would die without seeing one more
sunset.  If I had any
skill in drawing, I could still sketch that sunset.

After I saw the sunset, I lost consciousness
for three days.  When I finally awakened,
I asked my father why they had taken out that fence, tree, and
boulder.  I did
not realize I had blotted them out when I fixed my attention so
intensely on
the sunset.

as I recovered and
became aware of my lack of abilities, I wondered how I was going to
earn a
living.  I no longer had the strength to
be a farmer, but maybe I could make it as a doctor.”

still almost entirely lame in bed,
and unable to speak, Erickson became strongly aware of the significance
non-verbal communication – body language, tone of voice and the way
that these
non-verbal expressions often directly contradicted the verbal ones.

began to recall “body memories”
of the muscular activity of his own body.  By
concentrating on these memories, he slowly
began to regain control of parts of his body to the point where he was
eventually able to talk and use his arms.

unable to walk, he decided to train his
body further by embarking – alone – on a thousand-mile canoe trip with
only a
few dollars.  After this grueling trip, he was able to walk with a
cane.  This
experience may have contributed to Erickson’s technique of using
“ordeals” in a therapeutic context.

John Erickson, British Expert on Soviet Military History.  John Erickson was born in Newcastle in 1929 to Norwegian parents. His father
was a ship worker who served on convoys from Archangel to Murmansk
during World
War Two.  A Swedish forebear was in the
Russian Navy and served on the cruiser Aurora
which fired the blank shot signaling the assault on the Winter Palace
in 1917.


Erickson Names

  • Leif Erikson was a Norse explorer who, around 1000, was the first European to reach America. 
  • John Ericsson,
    born in Sweden, developed in America the first steam
    turbine engine in 1839 and in 1862 the famous ironclad warship known as the Monitor.   
  • John E. Erickson served as Governor and Senator
    of Montana from 1924 to 1934. 
  • Erik Erikson,
    born Erik Homberger, came to America in 1933 and developed there
    famous theory of psychosocial development and the concept of the identity crisis
  • Arthur Erickson, who was born
    in 1924 and died in 2009, is considered one of the greatest architects that Canada has ever produced.

Select Erickson Numbers Today

  • 43,000 in America (most numerous in Minnesota)
  • 24,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Erickson and Like Surnames.

These were originally Scandinavian patronymic surnames, with conversion usually from the Scandinavian “-sen” and “-sson” to the American “-son” on arrival or soon afterwards.  Here are some of the Scandinavian surnames that you can check out.




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